Rebirth of Liberia's health system: a dual celebration

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What better way for Liberia to celebrate African Vaccination Week 2016 than with a dual celebration: the introduction of rotavirus vaccine into the national immunisation system and the launch of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine demonstration project.

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The simultaneous introduction of rotavirus and HPV vaccines shows that Liberia’s health system is recovering from last year’s Ebola outbreak when immunisation coverage dropped to 30 percent.

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WHO/M Winkler

Ebola stretched the country’s health services to breaking point forcing the health ministry to delay the introduction of new vaccines.

Liberia 3

Ahead of this week’s event, the Liberian Government launched a nationwide campaign to help regenerate public confidence in the immunisation system and rebuild coverage rates.

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Gavi/2015/P Moore

To accelerate its recovery from the Ebola crisis, Liberia, supported by Gavi and other partners, has invested heavily in strengthening its cold chain to ensure vaccines can reach remote clinics.

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The rotavirus vaccine will protect young children against severe and frequently deadly diarrhoea - one of the leading causes of infant morbidity and mortality in Liberia.

Liberia 6

The HPV vaccine, which protects against the main cause of cervical cancer, will be delivered to over 14,000 adolescent girls through schools, health facilities and outreach services in Bong and Nimba districts.

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Liberia’s demonstration project, designed with Gavi support to test different approaches to delivering the HPV vaccine to adolescent girls, aims to build community support for the vaccine.

Liberia 8

Both Bong and Nimba have low school attendance rates so Liberia’s project will draw on the support of community leaders to identify girls who risk missing out on the HPV vaccine because they do not go to class.

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